asked questions

What is the culture like in Aotearoa New Zealand?

Kiwis (what New Zealanders are affectionately known as) tend to be more laid back and casual compared to other cultures. We’re a friendly bunch, and love to welcome new people. We like to work hard and spend time with our family and friends.

Māori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand and you will see many traditions and customs in everyday life. We can seem a bit shy, but we love to explore the outdoors and get out and adventure — which makes the Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions the perfect place to explore Kiwi culture.

You’ll also hear Kiwis call the country Aotearoa, is the Māori name for New Zealand.

Find out more about culture on the NauMai NZ website.

What kind of tertiary education is right for me?

There are many different options for tertiary education, so it’s important to think about what you want to do to help you make your decision.

You can talk to people you know who have been here before or chat with the friendly international student support teams at each tertiary education provider.

There’s more information available on the Tertiary Education website.

What is NCEA?

National Certificates of Educational Achievement (or NCEA) are the qualifications senior students at secondary school work towards. There are three levels, and the qualifications are recognised by employers and tertiary providers here and overseas.

The Careers website has more information on NCEA.

What is University Entrance?

University Entrance is the minimum requirement to get into an Aotearoa New Zealand University and involves achieving credits in certain subject.

But be warned, even if somebody achieves NCEA this does not automatically mean they achieve University Entrance.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) website breaks this down even more.

When do the English language entry requirements apply?

Most programmes at Level 3 (usually the last year of secondary school) or higher have English language requirements (unless they are English Language programmes). The NZQA has some clear guidance on the requirements.

How do I know if I’m earning a recognised qualification?

There are several ways to check if you’re earning a recognised qualification. You should find out if the institution is registered, if the programme is approved, if there has recently been an external review and if the organisation has signed up to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students.

You can always check in with NZQA if you’re not entirely sure.

What skills or industries are in demand?

There are lots of industries in demand including:

  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Finance
  • Health and social services.

In the Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions, there is particular demand for:

  • Agriculture and forestry
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Health and social services
  • Recreation, hospitality and tourism
  • Trades.

There is more information on industries in demand on the Immigration New Zealand website.

What is Orientation Day or Week?

Often referred to as ‘O’Week’, orientation happens at the start of the semester and involves a variety of events held to orient and welcome new students. It’s a great way to familiarise yourself with the campus and support services available, make new friends and celebrate the start of your study journey.

Can I have a part-time job while I study?

Most people on a student visa can have a part-time job while they study — you may even be able to work full-time during study breaks, like the summer holiday period. Check your individual student visa for your entitlements.

What can I do in the summer holidays?

If you’re under 18-years-old you must discuss your plans with your school, tertiary provider, family and agent. You may be able to visit your family overseas, stay in your homestay, move into temporary accommodation or take a short course during this time.

If you’re over 18-years-old, you might want to travel around Aotearoa New Zealand, work, take summer classes or visit your family overseas for a holiday.

What are the main differences between secondary school and tertiary study?

Secondary school:

  • Structured timetable
  • Smaller class sizes
  • Same age group
  • One-on-one learning support with teachers.


  • Class timetables vary
  • Larger class sizes
  • Various age groups
  • You take responsibility: class timetables, self-directed study, assessment schedules, ask tutors for help if you need it.
What are the costs of tertiary study?

Course fees can differ depending on the course and provider you choose to enrol with. Find out more about course fees for the specific providers in our regions:

You may be required to pay other fees in addition to tuition fees such as international student insurance, student services levy and course-related costs like textbooks or equipment. You’ll need to have funds readily available to cover these additional costs.

You will also need to budget each year for living costs as part of your student visa application. Your living costs will depend on your accommodation and lifestyle; you should have at least $17,000 to $22,000 per year of study.

Here are some links to more information you might find helpful: